A fantastic NBA player, a proud coach, and a renowned big time in-game announcer, Matt Guokas is saying goodbye to the Orlando Magic once again. Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel broke the sad news for us on Friday that the Magic won't be retaining Matt Guokas for their television broadcasts any longer. Let's just say some of the outrage and disappointment to the news has been more than appropriate thus far. This move to relieve Guokas of his post comes almost 20 years after the Magic dethroned Matty from the Head Coach position of the franchise he helped guide through its first 4 seasons of existence. It didn't feel like it, but Guokas was calling Magic games since the 2004-2005 season as he's stuck around with this franchise as long as Jameer Nelson has. Guokas got to watch Dwight develop up-close and personal from the sidelines. Even Matt's laughter added to the viewing experience:
For anyone who followed the Magic this season on FOX Sports Florida, you were probably aware of Matty missing various games during the '12-'13 campaign. I'm hoping the 69-year-old's contract wasn't renewed because it's a matter of resting his body and maintaining good health.
If it was a performance issue, then the Magic organization needs to be scolded immensely. You win only 20 games, it's obvious your ratings will suck. There are not many play-by-play guys that are as fair and unbiased yet information-packed as Guokas is. Combined with David Steele, the Magic for almost a decade have had the best commentating duo in the league. They've been a constant source of professionalism, especially since the creation of their partnership followed the messy 'Goose' Givens situation.
In my awesome first season truly covering the Magic, I never did get a chance to really chat with Mr. Guokas. It just never worked out that we were in the same area within the depths of Amway Center. There is one universal fact though known among all Magic employees and NBA journalists: Matty is about as classy as they come. Even through the adversity of your typical Lakers crowd:
My favorite Matt Guokas story actually precedes my existence on this planet by about eighteen years, and just goes to show the kindness and generosity of the Guokas family in general. My father emigrated from Greece to Philadelphia back in 1970 as a 13-year-old. Who was the first teacher that helped my dad improve his English? Well Matty Guokas' mother, Joan, of course. It also worked out that just before Matt left the Sixers to join the Chicago Bulls, my dad and his classmates were able to attend a Sixers game at the Spectrum thanks to Mrs. Guokas. It was the first NBA game my dad ever attended, and Matt and Joan helped gain a new fan for the league on that occasion. Somewhere, hidden in northeastern Greece, are a basketball and sneakers signed by Matt Guokas.
I can guarantee that every fan and individual affiliated with the Magic is wishing Guokas all the best. Also, I'm sure we'd all like to see that picture of Matty in his tap dance outfit. The good news about all of this is that if Jeff Turner steps in for Guokas, we get the full-time "KAPAYA" return. Whoever becomes the new color commentator to partner with Steele, it'll be tough for anyone to match Guokas' subtle and well-placed sarcastic moments:
If Guokas is healthy and wants a job, he'll have zero problems finding a new announcing occupation.